Health Insurance for International Students in Canada

As an international student studying in Canada, having health insurance is essential. Health care can be expensive, and if you are not covered, you may face hefty bills should you become ill or injured. That’s why having health insurance is so important in helping you stay healthy while studying abroad.

Health insurance in Canada is provided by the government and private insurers. The type of health insurance that you can get depends on the province or territory that you are in. To help you figure out which plan is right for you, here is some information about health insurance for international students in Canada.

Government Health Insurance

In Canada, provinces and territories provide public health insurance for their residents. International students planning to study in the country should familiarize themselves with the Canadian health care offered by their province of study. Some provinces do offer international students health coverage under provincial health insurance plans but they are mostly basic healthcare plans. If a student is looking for more than this then they should check out extended health coverage packages that meet their needs.

Like in the USA, many educational institutions themselves offer health insurance plans to international students. Generally, schools require students to register for health insurance packages, while other schools allow students to opt out if they have proof of adequate health coverage from another source.

Private Insurance

If you are not eligible for public health insurance, you may want to consider private health insurance. Private health insurance is not provided by the government, but by private insurers. Private health insurance may be more expensive than public health insurance, but it often has more options and benefits.

When looking for private health insurance, it is important to shop around to get the best deal. There are many private insurance providers in Canada, so it is important to compare and contrast the different policies to make sure you are getting the coverage that is right for you.

5 Best and Cheapest Health Insurance for International Students in Canada:

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Health Care Services for Students by Province


Province Provincial coverage for international students? Basic requirements Further information
Alberta Yes Minimum 12-month study permit

Minimum 12-month residence in Alberta

Study visa holders for more than three months and less than 12 months may be eligible if they can show their intention to reside in Alberta for at least 12 months.

Must apply within 90 days of arrival in Alberta.

British Columbia Yes Minimum six-month study permit International students are advised to apply immediately upon arrival; coverage begins after three months.

For example, if a student arrives on September 25, his or her coverage would begin on December 1. During the three-month waiting period, iMED provides students with basic health insurance.

Manitoba Yes Minimum six-month study visa

Minimum six-month residency per calendar year

New Brunswick Yes Minimum 3 months residence in New Brunswick. International students are required to provide the following:

·         Proof of enrolment at a New Brunswick institution

·         Valid student visa

·         Date of arrival in New Brunswick

Newfoundland and Labrador Yes Minimum 12-month study permit
Northwest Territories Yes Minimum 12-month study permit
Nova Scotia Yes Minimum 12-month study permit International students can apply for health coverage on the first day of the 13th month following the date of arrival in Nova Scotia. there are a few things students should remember:

·         They must not be outside of the province for more than 31 consecutive days.

·         They must reside in the province for 12 months before they will be eligible for health coverage.

If the students want continuous coverage, they will need to submit a copy study permit to Nova Scotia Health Card (MSL) and sign a declaration each year.


Ontario No The University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) is used by the majority of Ontario universities.   Unless otherwise excused, all international students attending participating institutions are required to enrol in this plan.
Prince Edward Island No International students are required to purchase private insurance. Some institutions offer their own healthcare packages, they can be optional or mandatory. Consult the institution for more information.
Quebec No, with exceptions Some student scholarships in Quebec include the provision of health insurance.

Unless otherwise exempt, international students are required to obtain private insurance. Some institutions offer their own healthcare packages, they can be optional or mandatory. Consult the institution for more information.

Saskatchewan Yes Study permit and proof of full-time enrollment
Yukon No


No matter which type of health insurance you get, it is important to have adequate coverage in place. Having health insurance will ensure that you are covered should you become ill or injured while studying in Canada. Doing your research and understanding your coverage will help you make the best decision for your healthcare needs.

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